• Would-be metal thieves caught on cam


    WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - A Seminole County scrapyard owner woke up to live video of two men trying to burglarize his business. His quick action landed them men behind bars.

    It happened at 419 Auto and Metal Recycling in Winter Springs. 

    Bart Phillips said he awoke around 4 a.m. Tuesday when the security system he installed alerted him to someone's presence on his property. 

    In surveillance video, two men are seen making their way through the scrapyard. Police said the two were looking to steal crushed metal.

    "It's money, and basically, if you see a piece of copper on the ground it can be turned into dollars and they can spend it the same day, so it's currency," said Phillips.

    Phillips said that a few years ago someone made off with $18,000 worth of copper from his business. He said that is when he decided to upgrade his security system.
    "Everything goes through the internet [I am] able to monitor it from anywhere in the world," said Phillips.   

    Since installing the surveillance system, Phillips said he has helped catch four would-be crooks in the act. Among those four are Luther Hutchins and Lionel Hopps -- charged early Tuesday morning.

    "One of them actually went around to the refrigerator and opened up the fridge, looked to see what's inside. I guess they're looking for leftovers," said Phillips.

    Phillips said he has a number of cameras on the property and that is a thief is on his property, that thief is most likely on camera. He said the security cameras are a necessity.

    "The next morning everything would be gone and we'd have no way to trace it," said Phillips. 

    Phillips said he hopes Tuesday's arrests send a message. 

    "They're going to pay the price. Winter Springs is not a place to come and steal material from," said Phillips.  

    Phillips said he owns several other scrapyards in central Florida. He said thanks to surveillance cameras he recently caught burglars at a DeLand business as well

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    Would-be metal thieves caught on cam